President Peter Mutharika’s choice of Ntcheu lawmaker and cabinet minister Everton Chimulirenji is a decision made in favour of maturity, profound character, political experience and the continued solidity of the DPP.
First, who is Everton Chimulirenji?
Chimulirenji, 56, studied Business Management and worked at the then Ministry of Works.
Known to be a man of initiative, he ventured into entrepreneurship where he proceeded to establish own construction company.
Chimulirenji is no stranger to DPP and Malawi’s politics since 2005 when DPP was formed. His political experience and association with the DPP began at the grassroots during the leadership of late President Bingu wa Mutharika.
With time, he rose to the position of the party’s District Governor for Ntcheu and was later elected Deputy National Organizing Secretary for the party.
He has since served two consecutive terms as Member of Parliament for Ntcheu North East. He was first elected to Parliament in 2009 when DPP won with unassailable majority. He was re-elected as MP in 2014.
He is also in the cabinet of President Mutharika where he is Minister of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development. Before this portfolio, he was Deputy Minister of Defence in the same cabinet.
He is also DPP’s National Campaign Director, a position he was elected to at the party’s National Convention last year.
Why has President Mutharika chosen Chimulirenji as running mate?
In his announcement of his choice for running mate a few minutes ago, President Mutharika has described Chimulirenji as “a man of integrity, maturity and a long serving member of the party”
Mutharika has thought about the good of the DPP. Unlike in the previous election when he picked a party outsider as his running mate, he has decided to choose someone who is a bonafide DPP member to ensure the continued solidity of the party.
It is generally agreed that the picking of Saulos Chilima was a mistake. Chilima was never DPP before being chosen as running mate in 2014.
And when he came to the position of vice president, he failed to integrate in the DPP. This is because he never represented the values and ethos of the DPP. It is not surprising that he quit the DPP last year, opting to form his own party.
Secondly, in picking Chimulirenji he seems to create for Malawi a vice presidency that is mature and has integrity.
Those close to Chimulirenji say he has a record of being a level-headed, methodical man with profound character who hardly craves for publicity.
They describe him as a man not made for craving personal limelight and flamboyance. These qualities have blighted the current vice presidency.
In addition, in picking the 56-year old, President Mutharika has gone for someone who balances the ages. A middle-aged man, Chimulirenji should relate well with the age divide in the country.
Of particular interest should be the question of tribalism which has cropped up several times during President Mutharika’s reign so far. Up to this point, allegations have been flying around that Mutharika will pick someone from his Lomwe tribe as his running mate. Names have even been mentioned.
But in going for someone from Ntcheu and not the Lomwe districts where the President comes from, Mutharika has debunked the myth that he practices tribalism. The choice today demonstrates that that President Mutharika sees all Malawians as one tribe, as he has always said.
Mutharika unveiled his running mate ahead of presentation of his nomination papers to the Malawi Electoral Commission this afternoon.
According to MEC, today is the last day for presentation of the nomination papers.
Now let the games begin!